Stellan Skarsgård knew Maria Sødahl, the director of his latest film “Hope,” well before she pitched him the idea–but he also knew her through the time when she was given just three months to live.
“Hope” is a romance about a woman and her relationship with her husband after she’s diagnosed with a terminal illness, and Sødahl called the film her “most autobiographical” work after she nine years ago received a cancer diagnosis and was given by doctors only three months to live.
Skarsgård has made five films with Sødahl’s husband and knew he could relate to the material, but he was still moved when she pitched him the treatment.
“I knew what she’s gone through, but she also had the distance to see the comical side of it, the flaws of the characters. She had made it very human even in two pages,” Skarsgård said. “It was a remarkable experience.”
“It’s about what love does to you when you have a very short time left to live,” Sødahl said. “This is a story of a week in a woman’s life with her relationship with her come to be husband and telling the story of a whole lifetime together in one week, more or less.”
Skarsgård stars alongside Andrea Bræin Hovig in the film. The two discussed their characters and their relationship very closely ahead of filming, but they were careful to distinguish their characters from Sødahl and her husband specifically.
“I never thought about playing her, which I actually don’t,” Hovig said. “I play her story, but my character is not actually very similar to Maria. She’s as proud as Maria, you’re also very proud I think, but otherwise my character are two different people.”
“What I’m doing basically in this film is I’m just looking at her for the entire film, two hours or whatever it is, and it was a great job, because watching her work for two months, and getting paid, it was great,” Skarsgård said.
Watch the interview with the cast and director of “Hope” above.